After having attempted suicide for being ostracized from his family and community, one U.K. man and new husband are showing the world that Muslims can be gay, too.
According to the Express & Star, 24-year-old Jahed Choudhury and 19-year-old Sean Rogan are believed to be the first wedded gay couple in the U.K. where one of the partners is Muslim. Dressed in traditional Muslim attire, the couple shared their vows during a small ceremony inside a local registry office, breaking barriers and “cultural taboos” for traditional Muslims.
For Choudhury, the road to marriage and his two-year-long relationship with Rogan was punctuated by homophobia and an unaccepting community. One of three children born to Bangladeshi parents, Choudhury recalled being the “black sheep” of the family—he preferred fashion shows to football and felt trapped.
In secondary school, he was repeatedly bullied, where peers spat on him, threw trash at him, and called him a pig and other insults. So he tried to “change” by taking a girlfriend, medication, and even going on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
However, things only worsened. Choudhury was assaulted by other Muslims on his street and had his door defaced with the word “fag.” After the attack, he was banned from the mosque he had attended for 15 years. In isolation, Choudhury attempted suicide, and that’s when he met Rogan.
“I’d not long overdosed and I was crying on a bench and Sean came over and asked if I was OK. He gave me hope at one of my lowest points and he’s stood by me all the way,” Choudhury said.
Despite the couple’s cheerful ceremony, the pain Choudhury experienced remains in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder, prohibiting his ability to work and be alone with people, and his family has continued to reject him and his relationship.
“This is about showing people I don’t care. My family doesn’t want to come on the day, they just don’t want to see it, it’s too embarrassing for them,” Choudhury said. “They think it’s a disease and can be cured, some of my family still call it a phase.”
However, he hopes his and Rogan’s marriage is a symbol of strength for closeted Muslims who have yet to come out to their parents.
“I want to say to all people going through the same thing that’s it’s OK—we’re going to show the whole world that you can be gay and Muslim,” Choudhury said. “I just hope all the gay Muslims out there, especially those in hiding right now, finally come out. The sons and daughters should have the guts to talk to their parents before it’s too late and they get married off and they get depressed.”
Watch Express & Star’s video of Choudhury’s and Rogan’s wedding below: